Friday, October 24, 2014

Guest Post: Luke is Taking All My Screen Time

Science is (yet) another of Luke/Eilu v'Eilu's interests. You have been warned.

(For those who require clarification, Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, has already claimed that based on his calculations, God does not exist. If I have it right, he states that the field of science was initially created to comprehend God, but now we know better and no longer require that "construct.") 

Mr. Hawking is perhaps the most intelligent individual to grace this universe. He and people like him seek to prove the unprovable. 

But, the ever-changing definitions of the physical realm have absolutely nothing to say regarding that which is purported to exist beyond our finite universe. Our minds and definitions of the phenomena that surrounds us are limited to the current rules that we believe govern our finite physical realm. 

We cannot prove the existence or lack thereof of a supreme being that is beyond physics and beyond time. In a hundred or perhaps a thousand years new ways of thinking will perhaps transcend the limits of our current understanding. 

How can we arrogantly say that we know everything there is to know when every generation new discoveries comes to light and trump our old ones? The discovery of the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall or the Higgs boson clearly test the limits of our understanding.
The irony is that within our finite universe exists a infinite system of numbers that were developed as a direct result of the two groups of digits—that were developed over four billion years simply by chance?—that we use to grasp the physical, and yet our minds somehow think that we can define the things that we can’t grasp, that which exists just beyond those limits that we ourselves conceptualized.
Hey, he said it, not me.


Daniel Saunders said...

To my philosophically amateur eye, Hawking, Richard Dawkins and other militant atheists seem to be operating within the philosophical paradigm known as logical positivism, which states that the only real knowledge is that which is empirically demonstrable; anything else (religion, ethics, aesthetics) is simply meaningless, quite literally: something with no meaning. As the existence of a G-d outside the universe and not bound by its laws is empirically untestable, it is perceived as a nonsensical belief.

It is pretty much impossible to argue against this from another paradigm that challenges this narrow view. There is no common ground from which to argue. Saying that we can't prove the existence of G-d would be seen by the positivist as an admission that G-d does not exist, not a way of suggesting G-d may exist.

It is noteworthy in this regard that not only does Hawking see religion as irrelevant, some years ago he stated that the whole field of secular philosophy was meaningless and if philosophers wanted to understand the world, they should become physicists.

Sarah said...

To borrow an argument from R' Kelemen's Permission to Believe, it's pretty close-minded to definitively say that something does not exist, because there may be a far-flung corner of the known universe in which unicorns and other mythological creatures prance. Just saying that you don't have proof of something doesn't deny its existence -- all that a conclusive lack of proof demonstrates is a conclusive lack of proof.
I'm pretty sure that anyone who actually debates for a living (e.g., lawyers) would have a lot to tell Mr. Hawking, genius that he is.

(Also, thanks for the awesome references to read up on!)

Princess Lea said...

I'll pass on your comments to Luke!